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Old 02-19-2006   #81
Gordon Coale
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When I was 13 (1958) I took my summer earnings and went down to the Base Exchange at Tachikawa Air Force Base, Japan, and bought a Petri rangefinder just like the one in the picture. I can't remember what possesed me to do that other than I wanted a real camera and the only family member that had a real camera was my grandfather who had a Leica IIIc (It's mine now.) and the Petri kind of looked like it. In the mid 1970s I gave it to a friend who was a camera repairman. I'm sorry now that I did but through the miracle of eBay I now have another just like it. That's the one in my avatar and the picture below. Leica must have gotten the idea of the red dot from my Petri. It's way to stiff with age to use but Mr. Gandy will CLA it for $100. Maybe a bit much for a $25 antique but not for the memory of shooting with my first rangefinder. With a tabbed lens like a real camera!

There is a box in the basement with slides taken with that camera. I will look for it tomorrow and bring one back.
What I am currently shooting:
35mm: 1949 Leica IIIc, 1937 Leica IIIa, 1935 Leica Standard, 1951 Canon IVSB, Voigtlander Bessa T, Asahi Pentax K, Nikon F, Nikon F4s
Medium Format: Bronica SQ-A, Isolette II, Mamiya C330
Digital: Panasonic GH3, Olympus Pen Mini E-PM2, Olympus Pen E-P2 converted to IR
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Old 02-19-2006   #82
StayAtHome Dad & Photog
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Wild thread. My first RF was a Yashica GSN bought over the fourth of July holiday in 2004. I ended up visit here a few days later trying to figure out how to use it... Prior to that I was quite happy with my Canon Rebel XS and Yashicamat 124G (which was why I figured "why not" when looking at this funny Yashica for $8.00... )

My wallet still hasn't forgiven that indiscretion

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Playing and learning daily with: 4x5 Crown Graphic, Leica IIIf w/ 50/2 Summitar, Nikon F2 Photomic w/ 50/1.4 & Olympus E-PL1.

"Some people are 'the glass is half full' types. Some people are 'the glass is half empty' types. I'm a 'the glass is full of radioactive waste and I just drank half of it' type. And I'm still thirsty." -- Bill Mattocks
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Old 02-19-2006   #83
Rodinal Addict
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In High school, 1977-79, at Chico High School, Northern California. Mrs. Wismer had a whole fleet, maybe 15-20 Nikon S and S2 rangefinder cameras for the photojournalism and yearbook classes, all with 50 mm lenses. No meters, just a couple of starting settings (using tri-X): " f16, 1/125th for outdoors, f2.8, 1/60th for indoors, BRACKET LIKE HECK". This is really what we were told. We took tons of photos, illustratrd the school paper, and the yearbook. Once we could take a decent photo with these , only then could we " move up" to minolta SRT SLR cameras.
Years later, after using an SLR for everything, I felt the need to find a rangefinder, so I went shopping on E-boy for a Nikon S like we had back in school. Wow, was I surprised at how they had increased in value. This led me to FED 2 and 3 cameras, which I have both now.
I wish I could have talked Mrs.Wismer out of one of those old Nikons.
Although the art thief and the photographer were very good friends, neither had ever taken the other’s picture. – George Carlin
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Old 02-19-2006   #84
Too many 50mms
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An M6 Classic bought 5-6 years ago. I still have it.

- annie -
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Old 02-19-2006   #85
Screw RC
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A Fuji gsw690II last year i couldnt be happier
Fuji GSW690II, Konica S2, Pentax Digital Spotmeter, Wista DX with 135,270,360
"Calling yourself a photographer and using a Digital camera is like calling yourself a chef and using a microwave."

Go Bears!!! (2-0)
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Old 02-19-2006   #86
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Until recently, I always used SLRs or, when travelling light on my bicycle, P&S's. I became intrigued with RF's from "knowing" about them generally and then reading a book or two and then discovering this website.

In the Spring of 2005 I bought a couple of Argus 'bricks' which I've never used for about $5 (I think the shipping cost more than the cameras!) just to see what exactly was a RF camera.

Then I eBayed a couple fixed-lens chepos that confused the heck out of me. One had the Graflex label but was a 35mm RF made in Japan (I guess it was Graflex's last attempt to stay alive?]. I have shot it a few times - pics aren't bad but a weird camera to operate.

Finally got a "real" RF - a Nikon S2 kit including Nikkor 5.0 and 13.5 cm lenses etc.

Nice clean camera with a strong RF patch etc.

Have now added a Bessa R2S plus CV lenses at 85 and 28.

Also, grabbed a Nikkor 3.5 lens.

And, now, like friggin' rabbits these things a "multiplying"! I now have a "S", two more Nikkor 5.0/1.4's and still want a SP (or maybe just S3) plus a backup R2S.

And, come to think of it, I "need" a Nikkor 10.5!!!!



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Old 02-20-2006   #87
rangefinder camera magnet
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Vivitar 35ES bought new about 1980. Did not keep long enough to get good with it and sold it for an SLR.
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Old 02-20-2006   #88
bob cole
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Originally Posted by ray_g
Mine was the Olympus 35SP. It was also the first used camera I bought, and the first camera I bought on *bay. From a Russian ex-colonel in the Yukon.

That was followed by a succession of compact fixed-lens RF's, then a Zorki. On to a barnack, then a Bessa-R, to Hexar and Leica M. Picked up a P along the way.

Some are gone, some I still have. The Oly is still here, and has found a (courtesy of Gman) brown leather-covered mate.

What's your story?
my first RF was an Argus C3; it was 1943, in the Navy at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. A girl who developed the photos sent me her phone number. My next camera was a second-hand Leica with a 50mm Elmar I bought in Mexico on time payments while in school on the GI Bill in 1949; somewhere I still have a full-page typewritten contract in Spanish explaining that I couldn't have the camera until I had paid it off...It was so long ago, I shot bullfights and tourist pix with Kodak Panatomic X, which I believe had an ASA [ISO] rating of 25...I have a few others now but still prefer an ISO of 100 or 200...bob
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Old 02-20-2006   #89
R Alan
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The Argus C3 thown in my new avatar-this was from the first roll I ran through the camera before I pulled it apart and cleaned it all up. I'm thinking of putting some new skin on it to dress it up a little-maybe dark green leather?

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Old 02-20-2006   #90
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Originally Posted by ray_g
Mine was the Olympus 35SP. It was also the first used camera I bought, and the first camera I bought on *bay. From a Russian ex-colonel in the Yukon.

That was followed by a succession of compact fixed-lens RF's, then a Zorki. On to a barnack, then a Bessa-R, to Hexar and Leica M. Picked up a P along the way.

Some are gone, some I still have. The Oly is still here, and has found a (courtesy of Gman) brown leather-covered mate.

What's your story?
I was heading over to India for a 2 week business trip and needed something smaller than a Pentax KX to grab shots with. My local camera shop guy (store is now closed) fixed me up with a really nice used Olympus 35RC that was easy to carry. It was a lot of camera in a small package. Because it had the meter in the lens assembly filters were a breeze to use.
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Old 02-20-2006   #91
Gabriel M.A.
My Red Dot Glows For You
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If I remember the timeline correctly, it was my Franka Solida IIIL. But if you really want to make the distinction between a rangefinder and a viewfinder, then my first rangefinder camera was my Leica M6.

It was chrome, and they didn't have a black one yet; I asked to have them give me a call as soon as a black one came in, and less than a month later, switched it. I still carry it with me whenever I can.
Big wig wisdom: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" --Harry Warner, of Warner Bros., 1927

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Together we can combat bandwidth waste (and image scrolling).

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Old 02-20-2006   #92
At the beginning again.
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My Yashica GSN was my first RF that I put film through, almost a year ago now...I had a Royal 35M that I played with as a youngster without ever putting film in it...

I still have both.
M3, M6, 50cron, 50nokton, 90hexar, 35biogon, 21skopar.
My Flickr
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Old 02-20-2006   #93
portable image
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The first rangefinder I shot with was a Contax II, I think, which I purchased in the early 'seventies and brought with me from the States to Europe, where I was working at the time. I scored a whole Contax kit from sold old guy who was probably the age I am now. Eventually, the shutter did what Contax shutters do, and I bought another Contax; a III with the flip up meter on top, in London on a weekend trip. I remember tha trip because I was so happy to be able to buy peanut butter. It was unavailable, no unheard of, in Normandy. The camera wasn't cheap, and when I got back to France, I had just enough money to use a pay pay phone for a ride home.

As I remember, I bought a Konica S3 back once we got back to the States and sold the whole Contax kit to help finance the rest of way way throught art school. Those were the days (not.)

At the time, though, I was shooting with a Speed Graphic and a Rolleicord Vb. The Konica was kind of for sketching. My favorite camera, though, was a black bakelite job that zone focused. The front of the body had sides that curved towards the back, and as I remember the back, which was metal, just popped off so you could get at the film. The body affected a kind of art deco flair, if I recall. Anyway, I spray painted the whole rig flat black and went hunting. The lens, which might have been as big as my thumbnail was prone to some wicked flare!

This is a great thread. I had almost forgotten those old cammies!


"I wanted to be surprised." Lee Friedlander
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What Do You All Expect?
Old 02-20-2006   #94
Did you say Nippon Kogaku
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Old 02-20-2006   #95
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I forgot where it came from, but my first RF was a mint Graflex 35 that I had when I was little. I used to love playing with its odd push button focusing system. My parents thought I was too young to let me waste film with it, and it ended up in the trash while I was away one summer.

The first RF that I actually used was a C3

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